Looking for the Muslim virginity loss story has been nothing short of a quest -- a quest that continues to this day. I have searched high and low for a Muslim -- a man, a woman -- I don't mind, who would be prepared to do an interview for my book. Anonymity is of course guaranteed but still no joy. I have hung out at The City Circle, a brilliant organization for young professional Muslims in London. People are lovely, welcoming even, but as soon as I get into virginity loss and my search for a story, people begin to back away from me.
Sometimes they offer to help, to ask their friends but nothing comes of it. At times, I have stood in my local Post Office and willed the head-scarved ladies behind the counter to ask me if, as well as that package that I am sending, would I perhaps care to ask them how they lost their virginity? Would I like to ask them what its like to be caught between two cultures, the culture of their parents and the culture of their friends, two very different things for many young Muslims in today's society. Because I can't help feeling that if you come from a strict religious background, Christian, Muslim, whatever, you are faced with some big questions these days, particularly if you are a woman. Women are racing ahead in the ranks. Women are educated. There are very few logical reasons for a woman to keep her virginity in today's society because she does not need marriage in order to survive but culture persists and for many, the keeping of virginity is still linked to a woman's moral worth. That's my side of the story. I want to hear someone else's.
The Internet has helped me because it allows people to engage with me on their own terms, via my blog. Today's storyteller can speak with anonymity. She makes no reference to a specific religion but she does allude to a strict upbringing and one that would be very different to a brothers. Ultimately, that difference involves 'staying virgin until the right time comes'.
It might surprise you to know that I would never feature today's story in my book unless it had its more traditional sister by its side. I want to present a 360 degree view of virginity loss, not just my own one-sided version. My generation expected our parents to wait for marriage but we don't expect young people to wait. That is the story that I really want to hear. The following story is unaltered in order to retain its true flavor.
'I've been always told by my mum that I should stay virgin until the right time comes. And for her, right time meant being married.
I was raised and born in France and my parents are from North Africa. I've been brought up in a very conservative and religious family where just talking about sex was taboo. However, the society which I belong to is very open about sex.
Losing my virginity meant for me not only allowing myself healthy and mature sexual relations. It meant also implementing my own choice, refusing men domination of any kind, being free, (not being) self conscious about my body and most of all, having my say in the relationship. In some way, I think that staying virgin or refusing sexual experience deprive you of many feminine attributes.
Losing my virginity was very hard for me as I always kept that voice of my mother in mind telling me that 'it was wrong. If a guy really loves you and respect you he'll marry you. A well brought-up girl should never give herself to a man...'
The day came when I decided to travel. Traveling opened my eyes and made me realize so many things in my life. Throughout my travelling I had the chance to fall in love with an amazing person. Even though, sexual relations weren't easy. I was tensed, blocked and felt bad. After six months being with him and him being so patient, I decided to cope with my fears and just go for it, let myself go and just love him. It didn't happen. My body and mind were all blocked.
I was so afraid that I went to see a sexologist. I wanted to understand why I wasn't able to do what seemed for me the most natural and simple act. The sexologist opened my eyes and made me realize where the fears and blockage was coming from.
Some other attempts later, with a lot's of love, care and kindness from my boyfriend; we finally did it. That was a little bit painful at the beginning but for me, sleeping with the man I loved meant so much! I was a woman now. When I was a virgin I always felt that I missed something and that I was not woman enough. I always felt that I was behind all my other girlfriends who did it way before me and who knew what sex was.
In my case, losing my virginity went beyond the act of having sexual relations. It meant for me being a completely free, independent and happy women. I wasn't the type of person who was waiting for a men to do everything for her or just following my parent's customs without questioning them. I was adult, and very proud to be a woman.
Until now, this special moment is one of the best memory I have.'